EAL student profile – Ornina Saliba

Written by Michaela Brighella. Posted in Newsletter

How long have you been in Australia and at St Mary’s College?

This is my fourth at St Mary’s College after arriving in Australia and Tasmania in 2017 from Syria. I migrated to Tasmania with my Mum, Dad and younger sister who is also at St Mary’s College, in Year 5, Rita. I also have an older brother and sister who live in Syria and Germany.

Did you learn English before migrating to Australia?

I knew a little bit of English before we got here. I speak Arabic, French and English and learned French in Lebanon before leaving for Australia.

My Mum and Dad only speak in Arabic, so Rita and I speak a lot in English to sneak things past Mum and Dad! 

What do you enjoy most about being at St Mary’s College?

I like that the teachers are so helpful and understanding and they explain things very well. Even if English is not your first language you can still learn and feel a part of the school lessons.

What’s your favourite subject at school?

English is my favourite, it taught me how to speak and interact with people in an English-speaking place and it’s a straightforward subject.

Who is your favourite teacher?

All the teachers are so nice. Mrs Clark and the Lantern staff are all wonderful.

If you could choose one area of schooling as a highlight, what would it be?

I really enjoy writing imaginative stories. For the mid-year exams, I was given a sentence and had to write a story. This sentence was ‘the strangest but the best gift I’ve ever received.’ I wrote about a girl who wants to be an astronaut, went to space, saw aliens, and keep it a secret. On her birthday she received a gift, a shiny rock, from space.

I also enjoy reading horror stories.

What key things have you learned this year?

Learning new words that are difficult and taught me a lot about writing essays and reports.

Learning with activities in class has been fun. We play Kahoot and make it about something you’ve learned.

What do you like about Tasmania the most?

I like the views and landscape of Tasmania and the opportunity to learn the language. That has helped me settle in here.

What are your future plans after you finish school?

Next year I am going to the University of Tasmania for the University Preparation Program, which gets you ready for uni, including essay writing and lecture preparations.

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